‘Straight Male Friend’ Emotional Satire on ‘SNL’

The sketch show’s latest parody of emotionally distant men has given me a great heart.

Bowen Yang and Travis Kelce in 'Straight Male Friend' on 'SNL'
Kyle Dubiel / NBC

Super Bowl winners once went to Disney World to celebrate their victories, but Saturday Night Live having offered an alternative from time to time. Last night, Kansas City Chiefs tight end and two-time Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce joined the likes of quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, each of whom hosted the sketch show shortly after winning the big game. Kelce’s high athletic presence, which is rare on the SNL on stage, it allowed the show to examine masculinity from different angles, including with a surprisingly emotional tenor.

In the pre-made commercial spoof “Straight Male Friend,” Bowen Yang played a gay man overwhelmed by the financial and emotional demands of his friendship with a straight woman. He shared the relief he found in being friends with a straight man, played with sincerity by Kelce. Yang proposed this form of “low-effort, low-stakes relationship that requires no emotional commitment, no financial investment, and, aside from the occasional video game fling, no drama.”

On the surface, the ad appeared to be another man’s address – like recent sketches such as the “Old Enough! Long-Term Boys!” and the acerbic “Big Bod Therapy.” But “Just a Male Friend,” written by Yang with Streeter Seidell and Alex English, took on the isolationist norms that fuel toxic masculinity with a fervor that heightened its comedic beats. At at one point, Kelce mentioned that his father “passed away last week,” drawing concern from Yang. But Kelce shrugged off the difficult experience, and later apologized for “being a dick” about it.

Thanks to the heartfelt, almost tender way in which Kelce played the straight male friend, who seemed cocooned in his smooth, ineffectual life, and the warmth Yang and his writing team lent the sketch, d “Straight Male Friend” found a more nuanced way to satirize. straight men – including the social conditions that may make it difficult for them to develop and sustain meaningful friendships. Despite its parodic frame, the sketch painstakingly portrayed the lives of Kelce’s characters, making clear the effects of isolation and the emotional constraints that society places on men.

SNL he has been making fun of straight men a lot lately, often using a mocking tone. “Old enough! Long Term Boys!” a fake American spinoff of the Japanese reality show Old enough!, which follows young children as they go on errands by themselves; choose to shade the “so helpless group” update. Equating men to children, the sketch – which featured male cast members (Mikey Day, Kenan Thompson) playing their grown men as wide-eyed and helpless – took on a surreal, exaggerated quality. Similarly, last year’s commercial spoof “Man Park” advertised recreational facilities like dog parks for straight men in need of male friends; inside it, girls and wives looked on, cushioned, while their partners scurried around like rabbits. As the narrator said, “Masculinity is not his own fault that makes the relationship so difficult.”

Another recent sketch, “Big Penis Therapy,” took a hard-hitting look at the damage that unaddressed issues can cause in men. A woman (Amy Schumer) convinces her “toxic as a mug” partner, Glenn (Andrew Dismukes), to go to therapy explaining that it’s for men with big penises. Glenn’s emotional vulnerability had a young and effective result: Although many of Glenn’s male co-workers initially mocked him for going to therapy, they eventually became jealous when he showed his well-deserved toy badge. six months. If therapy won’t solve the problem of angry young men unilaterally, the sketch suggests, it’s at least a start—but getting more men to take advantage of that resource is a big hurdle. (According to a CDC survey, women in the United States are more likely than men to seek treatment for mental health issues.) “Just a Male Friend” said as much, closing with a tagline that explained that these types of men can be found in everywhere … except therapy. The slippage between what felt satirical and what simply felt true SNLthe newest sketch on the other edge material.

One misstep last night highlighted the simple but effective approach taken by “Straight Male Friend”. “Garrett From Hinge” used a wildly unfocused premise to explore another type of straight man – an angry man. Yang played a Hinge user who had canceled at the last minute and left him looking “sucka”. He tracked down the woman he was supposed to meet (Heidi Gardner) and the man she dumped for him (Kelce), broke into their apartment, and demanded answers. In turn he felt more strange, Garrett shot himself to the bathroom several times, where he told himself that he was not going to kill them. The sketch reached a point about cringing men and Garrett’s potential for violence, but it felt vague and underdeveloped. If “Straight Male Friend” was a sort of preview of what men need, “Garrett From Hinge” uncomfortably showed the dark turn things can take when they don’t get it. Although both sketches dealt with the same issue, Yang showed an important potential with the first: infusing the deeper humor that comes from a humorous perspective with a bit of heart.

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